Surveying Attendees About Live Events

Wondering how to determine your audience’s willingness to attend a live event? The PCMA Catalyst community discussed what questions to include in a survey. PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion. Gauging Interest in Live Events “Has anyone sent a pre-event survey to attendees to see what the interest level is for live events versus hybrid and/or virtual events?” Marianne Parker, executive director, event management for RE/MAX International, asked the PCMA Catalyst community. “We have an event scheduled for early August and want to see if our attendees are comfortable attending in person or would prefer [a] 100-percent virtual [event]. Any sample questions would be much appreciated.” We recently sent a survey out for one of our groups. This first survey was very basic — [its purpose was] simply to take their temperature regarding attending a face-to-face meeting in NYC in September: Prior to COVID-19, were you planning to attend the event? Assuming travel is feasible and the city is open to travelers, would you still attend? What barriers are in place from your [organization] to keep you from attending? [We surveyed] a health-care group and approximately 35 percent have travel bans, reduced or eliminated funding, etc. Would you attend a virtual meeting? Would you participate in these specific virtual aspects? [The options were] exhibit hall, commercially supported symposia, one-on-one chats, [and] group chats. Open comments — we received a lot of comments. I think folks were just happy to have been asked. — Darlene Somers, Senior Meetings Manager, Association Management Center Another member posted this response with sample questions from his organization: Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, how likely were you to attend the 2020 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Annual Conference? Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, were you aware of the online/virtual registration option for the annual conference allowing you to view the conference from your location? If you were considering attending prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, what registration type would you have chosen? At this point in time, how likely were you to attend the 2020 ASNT Annual Conference? If you are considering attending at this point in time, what registration type would you chose? Do you currently have any employer-based travel restrictions? I also have some questions to break out potential speakers and exhibitors so I can gauge their interest individually. With my goal of keeping the “pulse” surveys short, I asked exhibitors (and presenters) two questions: Prior to COVID-19 were you planning to exhibit (or present)? This was simply used to segment respondents and trigger the second question. At this time do you plan to: 1. Exhibit in person 2. Prefer to explore virtual options 3. I will not be exhibiting this year. — Barry Schieferstein, Director, Conferences and Meetings, American Society for Nondestructive Testing We sent a survey [recently] and in two

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Survey

Survey

Wondering how to determine your audience’s willingness to attend a live event? The PCMA Catalyst community discussed what questions to include in a survey.

PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion.

Gauging Interest in Live Events

“Has anyone sent a pre-event survey to attendees to see what the interest level is for live events versus hybrid and/or virtual events?” Marianne Parker, executive director, event management for RE/MAX International, asked the PCMA Catalyst community. “We have an event scheduled for early August and want to see if our attendees are comfortable attending in person or would prefer [a] 100-percent virtual [event]. Any sample questions would be much appreciated.”


We recently sent a survey out for one of our groups. This first survey was very basic — [its purpose was] simply to take their temperature regarding attending a face-to-face meeting in NYC in September:

  • Prior to COVID-19, were you planning to attend the event?
  • Assuming travel is feasible and the city is open to travelers, would you still attend?
  • What barriers are in place from your [organization] to keep you from attending? [We surveyed] a health-care group and approximately 35 percent have travel bans, reduced or eliminated funding, etc.
  • Would you attend a virtual meeting?
  • Would you participate in these specific virtual aspects? [The options were] exhibit hall, commercially supported symposia, one-on-one chats, [and] group chats.
  • Open comments — we received a lot of comments. I think folks were just happy to have been asked.

— Darlene Somers, Senior Meetings Manager, Association Management Center


Another member posted this response with sample questions from his organization:

  • Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, how likely were you to attend the 2020 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Annual Conference?
  • Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, were you aware of the online/virtual registration option for the annual conference allowing you to view the conference from your location?
  • If you were considering attending prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, what registration type would you have chosen?
  • At this point in time, how likely were you to attend the 2020 ASNT Annual Conference?
  • If you are considering attending at this point in time, what registration type would you chose?
  • Do you currently have any employer-based travel restrictions?

I also have some questions to break out potential speakers and exhibitors so I can gauge their interest individually.

With my goal of keeping the “pulse” surveys short, I asked exhibitors (and presenters) two questions:

  • Prior to COVID-19 were you planning to exhibit (or present)? This was simply used to segment respondents and trigger the second question.
  • At this time do you plan to:
    1. Exhibit in person
    2. Prefer to explore virtual options
    3. I will not be exhibiting this year.

— Barry Schieferstein, Director, Conferences and Meetings, American Society for Nondestructive Testing


We sent a survey [recently] and in two days got over 700 responses! People were grateful to be asked and provided a lot of good feedback about their willingness/ability to travel this year — 87 percent said no or weren’t sure, and 88 percent are still under a travel ban — as well as what they want out of online programs. I modified this survey to send to our exhibitors as well.

— Mariellen Morris, Director of Conferences, Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research

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